I’ve spent several weeks researching new trail runners. Having been a die hard Salomon user over the past decade or so, I was hesitant to try something new. Unfortunately, years of hiking have finally caught up with my feet, and they are begging for some more arch support. Recently, I’ve also struggled with Plantar Fasciitis (see post), and I suspect it may irritate me through this next hike in August.
A few months ago, I went to a running store to check out shoe options. It was here that I discovered Hokas. I frowned, and raised an eyebrow, when they were presented to me. They looked like platform shoes for runners, with these big, THICK treads. I was tall enough. There was no way I was going to retain my already questionable balance with 1-2 inches added to the bottoms of my feet. But then I put them on, and walked. They were SO COMFORTABLE, and I only swayed a little. I had found my new shoes.
A month ago, I decided to check out the HOKA trail runners since my other shoes had worked out so well. After a lot of googling, I narrowed down the trail runners to Hoka’s ATR 5’s, and the Speed Goat 3’s. I have a few requirements for my trail runners, as I have fussy feet. I like light shoes (as in not heavy), not waterproof, wide toe boxes, and good arch support. I found all of these things in the ATR 5. Also, not that it is a priority (cough), but I also really like the dark blue that was in stock.
The Speed Goat was a nice shoe, but it was tight, and my foot immediately started to heat up in the shoe. The ATR and Goat were very different shoes. It felt like the tight fit of the Goat made it more suitable for running, and in my case, a few instant blisters added to my feet. Even other hikers are often shocked at the number of blisters I get within the first two weeks. My feet always toughen up and form callouses over time, but the first few weeks of a long distance hike are brutal for me. I’ve tried everything – constantly stopping to clean and air out my feet, changing socks continuously, giant clown shoes, socks and liners, thin socks, thick socks, feet glide, rubbing them with alcohol to toughen them up weeks before hikes, etc. I’ve yet to find a solution, but am still on the hunt.
So, all these things considered, I felt the ATR’s best fit the bill. There are a few things I am still a little hesitant about. I’m still a little higher off the ground that I generally like to be, and the uppers on the shoes are not nearly as rugged as my Salomons, but hopefully they are tougher than they appear. Regardless, I’m excited because they are REALLY comfortable. Hopefully, they can hold up for five weeks, and I don’t topple over.